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Untangling the Intersection of HIV and Trauma: Why It Matters and What We Can Do

September 2013

Despite the widespread availability of antiretroviral therapy (ART) in the U.S., more than half of people living with HIV (PLHIV) in the U.S. are not engaged in regular medical care. Strikingly, only about one-fifth of the U.S. HIV-positive population has a suppressed viral load. Barriers to retention in care and antiretroviral adherence range from financial and logistical, to actual and perceived discrimination in health care settings. However, these public health challenges reflect deeper-level determinants that drastically undercut HIV prevention efforts and the health care of PLHIV. Most notably, individual and community-level experiences with trauma negatively impact the health outcomes of PLHIV.

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Reader Comments:

Comment by: EPower (Nashville TN) Tue., Nov. 19, 2013 at 9:46 pm EST
I spend a lot of time implementing Risking Connection with organizations, and I have to say that living with any chronic, life altering or threatening condition is traumatic--and that the ACEs Study is pretty enlightening about nine particular adverse experiences and long term health consequences. What I find in my own life is that a frame of reference that comes from "what happened" is much more helpful.. Just sayin'.
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Comment by: Alex (New haven, CT) Thu., Nov. 14, 2013 at 12:18 pm EST
If you think you might have PTSD, or someone suggested that you might have it, check it out. I knew many of us long term survivors had it at an intellectual level, but it wasn't until I actually working with a clinician at The New Haven Center for PTSD and anxiety disorders that I realized I should have done this work a long time ago.
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